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Juan Manuel Lopez-Rafael Marquez to fight Saturday on Showtime

The featherweight title bout between Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez could be a candidate for best fight of the year. They are rarely in a dull fight as both have demonstrated an ability to give and take plenty of punches.

Marquez, a former super bantamweight champion, is moving up four pounds to fight Lopez at the 126-pound featherweight limit. This fight also has ramifications for Yuriorkis Gamboa. If Marquez wins, the much-anticipated featherweight unification bout between Gamboa and Lopez disappears.

To help promote the event, Showtime distributed the following information to the media. Since Mexico vs. Puerto Rico is one of the best rivalries in boxing, the network has offered up a collection of great fights from that rivalry. Steve Farhood, Showtime's boxing analyst and a former editor in chief of The Ring, compiled the list. Here it is in chronological order:

Wilfredo Gomez KO 5 Carlos Zarate, Oct. 28, 1978, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico (Retains WBC super bantamweight title): In a shocker, undefeated and long-reigning bantamweight titlist Zarate, 52-0, struggles to make weight, then struggles further with Puerto Rico’s 21-year-old Gomez, 21-0-1. Zarate crashes to the canvas three times.

Wilfred Benitez W 15 Carlos Palomino, Jan. 14, 1979, San Juan (Wins WBC welterweight title): Twenty-year-old Puerto Rican prodigy Benitez, 36-0-1, wins by split decision over established champion Palomino, 27-1-3. Benitez boxes brilliantly off the ropes.

Salvador Sanchez KO 8 Wilfredo Gomez, Aug. 21, 1981, Las Vegas (Retains WBC featherweight title): In arguably the most anticipated Mexico-Puerto Rico matchup of all, Mexico’s elegant Sanchez, 40-1-1, issues Gomez, 32-0-1, the first defeat of his career.

Wilfredo Gomez KO 14 Lupe Pintor, Dec. 3, 1982, New Orleans (Retains WBC super bantamweight title): One of the most brutal bouts of the decade ends with Gomez, 37-1-1, wearing down Mexican bantamweight titlist Pintor, 49-5-1. The memorable war is the co-feature to Thomas Hearns-Wilfred Benitez at the Superdome.

Edwin Rosario W 12 Jose Luis Ramirez, May 1, 1983, San Juan (Wins vacant WBC lightweight title) and Ramirez KO 4 Rosario, November 3, 1984, San Juan (Wins WBC lightweight title): Only 20 years old, Puerto Rico’s Rosario, 21-0, edges rugged southpaw Ramirez, 82-4, in the first fight. Ramirez gains revenge in the rematch, miraculously surviving a pair of knockdowns.

Julio Cesar Chavez KO 11 Edwin Rosario, Nov. 21, 1987, Las Vegas (Wins WBA lightweight title): Mexican icon Chavez, 56-0, moves up from 130 pounds, adding his second title by dominating the hard-punching Rosario, 31-2.

Julio Cesar Chavez W 12 Hector Camacho, Sept. 12, 1992, Las Vegas (Retains WBC super lightweight title): In a dominant performance, the indomitable Chavez, 81-0, pressures “Macho Man” Camacho, 40-1, but can’t get him to submit. The win is Chavez’s ninth defense.

Felix Trinidad KO 4 Yory Boy Campas, Sept. 17, 1994, Las Vegas (Retains IBF welterweight title): In a battle of those who are unbeaten, 21-year-old phenom Trinidad, 23-0, rises from a second-round knockdown and keeps the crown by halting steel-chinned Mexican challenger Campas, 56-0.

Antonio Margarito KO 11 Miguel Cotto, July 26, 2008, Las Vegas (Wins WBA welterweight title): Mexican veteran Margarito, 36-5, scores a big upset, outlasting pound-for-pounder Cotto, 32-0, in a savage punchout.

Giovanni Segura KO 8 Ivan Calderon, Aug. 28, 2010, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico (Retains WBA light flyweight title; Wins WBO light flyweight title): In a classic matchup of styles, Mexican bomber Segura, 24-1-1, issues Puerto Rican stylist Calderon, 34-0-1, his first defeat in a strong candidate for fight of the year.


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